Lee Morgan recorded for Blue Note in the late '50s, playing seven dates between 1956 and 1958. Morgan was still in his teens at the time and half of the joy of The Complete Blue Note Lee Morgan Fifties Sessions is hearing the trumpeter develop at a rapid rate. The four-disc box set The Complete Blue Note encompasses sessions with Horace Silver, Paul Chambers, Benny Golson, Wynton Kelly, Sonny Clarke, Doug Watkins, and Art Taylor. Morgan may have been young at the time these were recorded, but he was impressive even at the beginning, playing blistering hard bop and lyrical ballads with equal ease. He may have gone on to record greater, more influential albums but this music remains exciting, vital, and simply joyous.
Jazz Icons: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers features what many consider to be one of the finest line-ups in the history of jazz—Art Blakey (Drums), Bobby Timmons (Piano), Jymie Merritt (Bass), Benny Golson (Sax) and the legendary trumpet player, Lee Morgan. Lost for nearly 50 years, this historic 55-minute concert, filmed in Belgium in 1958, one month to the day after they recorded their masterpiece Moanin', is the only known visual document of this influential band who were together for only six months.
The late 50's were a prime period for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and in 1958 this group features emerging stars trumpeter Lee Morgan, Benny Golson on tenor and pianist Bobby Timmons, and the 1958 version of The Jazz Messengers was widely recorded during their stay in Euroupe, so this CD contains some of the better uptempo arrangements in the Blakey book as I Remember Clifford, Along Came Betty, Moanin' and Whisper Not. Hard bop at its best, and all of them propelled by the powerful drumming of Art Blakey.
Lee Morgan, a leading trumpeter and composer, recorded prolifically from 1956 until a day before his death in February 1972. Originally interested in the vibraphone, he soon showed a growing enthusiasm for the trumpet. When Benny Golson left the Jazz Messengers, Morgan persuaded Blakey to hire Wayne Shorter, a young tenor saxophonist, to fill the chair. Great musician, great autor! Fresh compilation by italian snobs…
Vol. 3 is Lee Morgan's final recording from a series done in the spring of 1957, an important year not only for the teenage trumpeter, but for the dominant hard bop sound that swept the landscape of modern jazz. Morgan preferred the sextet format at this time, recruiting alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce and retaining tenor player Benny Golson, while grabbing bassist Paul Chambers and pianist Wynton Kelly from the Miles Davis/John Coltrane combo. The selection of lesser-known but very talented drummer Charlie Persip for this date is a wise choice, as he is more homogeneous to the composed jazz of Golson, which comprises this entire set. Because of the Golson factor, the music is consistent, but not the hard bop blowing session some may have expected.
With 1957's BLUE TRAIN, John Coltrane not only firmly established his own voice on the tenor saxophone, but also proved his abilities as a bandleader and composer. The musicians on BLUE TRAIN, hand-picked by Coltrane himself, play superbly, not only as individuals, but also as a cohesive unit–a rare occurence in an era where "all-star" ensembles would come together for one session, then disband just as quickly. Nineteen-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan spins bop lines in a warm tone, belying his age with his extraordinary playing, while drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Paul Chambers keep BLUE TRAIN running with impressive agility.
Although not one of his better known albums, Lee Morgan's EXPOOBIDENT is a strong outing in the still-early stages of the trumpeter's career. The oddly titled session, originally recorded for the Vee Jay label, is an excellent showcase for Morgan's developing style as one of the premier hard bop trumpeters. Also on the date are other heavy-duty boppers like the big-toned tenor man Clifford Jordan, bassist Art Davis, the great Art Blakey on drums, and the underrated pianist Eddie Higgins. The young Morgan is the central figure, however, and smartly displays his wares in swinging fashion.
Get this recording just for Louis Hayes' cooking hi-hat work on the opening cut "Raggedy Ann." Following the head, Morgan prowls around the confines of the groove, poking this way and that, then finally releasing into a straight-ahead swing feel after four taut choruses. "Lee-Sure Time" has a similar brooding quality, with stark trumpet and tenor harmonies that evoke the Jazz Messengers–no surprise, considering this is the first album Morgan made after a stint with Blakey that ran from 1958 to 1961.
Saxophonist Clifford Jordan contributes "Little Spain," a jazz waltz with a sunny disposition that gets propulsive treatment, particularly during pianist Barry Harris' solo. Morgan's 3/4-time contribution, "A Waltz For Fran," is decidedly moodier, with brushwork from Hayes coloring the trumpeter's melancholy throughout. With Elmo Hope's serpentine title track and the closer, Morgan's "Second's Best" both swinging hard in minor keys, TAKE TWELVE qualifies as vintage early-'60s hard bop.
Lee Morgan’s first meeting on record with Clifford Jordan was in June 1957, when Morgan was about to turn nineteen and Jordan had just begun making a name for himself. After their first collaboration, the precocious Morgan occasionally called Jordan to play tenor on his recordings; thus they recorded together twice in 1960 and once in January 1962.